Social Media Plays Part In Divorce

Social media has seen the downfall of a property tycoon, who informed his ex-wife – who was in the process of obtaining a divorce – that she should sell her engagement ring to maintain her way of life.

Preston Haskell IV (53) and ex-wife Alesia Vladimirovna (39), enjoyed the finer things in life during their 11-year relationship. However, the High Court heard that Mr Haskell IV’s ‘serial infidelity’ and drink and drug use marked the beginning of the end of their relationship.

Mr Haskell IV, a property tycoon who amazed his £160m fortune, liked to party with the rich and famous. However, when the marriage collapsed in 2016, Mr Haskell IV branded his ex-wife – who he funded for two years after their split – a ‘gold digger’ who he was never going to reconcile with, as the battle for his fortune began.

Mr Haskell IV claimed he couldn’t give his wife any financial settlement as part of the divorce, as he owed £55m to debtors. He went on to claim that he could only continue to fund his lifestyle due to financial payments from his father.

The week long court battle has resulted in judge Mr Justice Mostyn ordering Mr Haskell IV to pay his ex-wife and mother of his three children £5.7m.

Mr Haskell IV’s downfall, was the fact he liked to promote his lavish lifestyle on social media. The court was shown posts which showed the property tycoon boasting about his ‘beautiful year’ whilst posing with a £400 bottle of vintage wine.

Mr Justice Mostyn said:

“After their arrival in London in September 2013, the parties enjoyed a superior lifestyle dwelling, in high-quality rented accommodation.

“Unfortunately, the marriage was blighted by the husband’s serial infidelity and abuse of cocaine and alcohol.

“The wife issued a divorce petition on 24th November 2016 and commenced her claim for financial remedies on the same day.

“On 21st December 2016, the parties physically separated, and although they discussed reconciliation they never cohabited again.

“In January 2019, the husband reached the conclusion that a reconciliation was not going to work and announced that the parties would proceed to a divorce.

“At that point, everything changed. His attitude to the wife because unremittingly punitive.

“He denounced her as a gold digger and began a process of financial attrition which has led to the present dire situation where the wife and children are shortly to be evicted from their home in central London and made homeless.

“In contrast, his American Express statement records that, in the month up to 22nd January 2019, he had spent on that card alone nearly $19,000.”

At an earlier Court hearing Mr Haskell IV was ordered to pay his wife £45,700 a month in maintenance but at the time of the divorce hearing, he had amassed £310,000 in back payments.

Mr Justice Mostyn added:

“What was the husband doing, or not doing, from March until December 2019?

“He did not sell any of his assets. Nothing has been disposed of. He continued to enjoy his high lifestyle.

“Thus, the wife was able to establish by looking at the husband’s postings on social media that he was on holiday in South Africa in April (when he posted a picture of himself paragliding with the caption ‘life is beautiful’); in Turkey in May; in St Tropez in June; in Ibiza in July; in Switzerland in July in order to attend a party hosted by the US ambassador to that country; and in December…at his beautiful home in Cape Town.

“On 31st May, 2019, he posted a picture of himself holding a bottle of Château Haut-Brion 1966 with the caption: ‘It was a beautiful year’.”

Mentioning the properties Mr Haskell IV owns, the Judge commented:

“No attempt has been made to sell either of these properties.

“If the husband’s financial position was really as dire as he proclaims, these would be the first to go under the hammer.

“The husband maintains an office in Moscow where he employs numerous members of staff. Not one has been let go in this supposed time of crisis.”

Addressing Mr Haskell IV’s comments that his wife should sell her engagement ring to fund her lifestyle. The Judge added:

“I do not take into account any value of the wife’s engagement ring. The husband was very keen that I should do so, asserting that it was worth perhaps £100,000.

“It is bordering on the grotesque that the husband should be expecting the wife to liquidate this ring.”

The order of the court stated that Mr Haskell IV has to pay his ex-wife £647,732 by the start of March 2020 and a further payment of £5.181m in March 2022 after his business interests have come to fruition.

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